Celebrating a two-decade milestone

February 2024

In a delightful meeting marked by cake and camaraderie, NL-ix recently caught up with BIT, a longstanding partner of NL-ix, to delve into their more then two-decade journey with NL-ix’s interconnection services. The meeting was not just a celebration of a milestone but also a pragmatic reflection on the dynamic evolution of the digital landscape.

The Early Connection: A Journey Back in Time
BIT’s association with NL-ix dates back to the early days “Our digital journey actually predates the birth of NL-ix," reminisced the BIT team. BIT initially started their online expedition at BOS Internet Services, equipped with a leased line boasting a whopping 64k – a speed considered astronomical in those early days. 

Somewhere afterwards BIT switched to IXE, the predecessor of NL-ix.  ‘We got a Cisco 2500 router and a KPN leased line, and we started with 512 kilobits.’ And then at some point Jan came up with NL-ix. Transit was still incredibly expensive at the time, so every megabit that you could do via Peering immediately gave a positive effect in your wallet and that became the driving force behind BIT's decision to join NL-ix.

Alex Bik and Jan Hoogeboom

Differentiation in Service: NL-ix's Distinctive Edge
NL-ix's commitment to accessibility, regardless of location, resonated with BIT. "It did not matter where you were, NL-ix would come to you," highlighted BIT. And that resulted in a distinct selection of ASN’s connecting to NL-ix, but also in a diverse service offering. Beyond Peering, BIT highlighted the practical benefits of NL-ix's services, particularly in facilitating connections to datacenters across the Netherlands. “We always consider all options however if we require a connection from our datacenter to another datacenter in the Netherlands, NL-ix is usually a good place to start because there is a good chance that there is already a switch from NL-ix to facilitate a VLAN from A to B”.

And that makes it very useful for us: it makes BIT accessible to our customers. ‘A large part of our customers are not so much interested in Peering, but are mainly interested in low latency connections with good paths, and we arrange that for them’. In addition, it is very useful from a datacenter perspective if we can simply get a VLAN to anywhere, because customers like to be in two datacenter locations, want to migrate or merge locations, want a connection to a supplier, or whatever reason. “No matter how good your datacenter is, as long as you don't have good connections to the outside, customers won't come.”

Being part of an Exchange is about the quality of the network, making it essential to align with a partner like NL-ix that understands the evolving requirements of the digital landscape.

Alex Bik

Adapting to Trends: Navigating the Shifting Landscape
To the question which trends in the work field BIT considers relevant for themselves and NL-ix, BIT responded that the focus in datacenters is shifting from physical space (colo) to services. This is where NL-ix can also play a role.

Furthermore, customers are more and more reconsidering where they park their data based on regulations such as the growing importance of storing that the data on Dutch soil and with Dutch owners but also certifications. The personal touch in customer service, allowing direct communication, also plays a factor: ‘customers can still call us instead of having to submit a ticket and wait until something is done with it. And of course NL-ix also has that advantage, it is still 100% Dutch. Additionally, it is my experience that I’m always helped well by NL-ix in case I need help or advice’.

Looking Ahead: A Vision for the Future
Reflecting on the future of Internet Exchanges, BIT emphasized that the strength of an Exchange lies in bringing networks together. It's easy enough to start an Internet Exchange, until the moment you have to grow, the capacity grows, and the expectations grow.

It’s all about ensuring growth, capacity, and stability: Quality now takes precedence over price. For BIT, being part of an Exchange is about the quality of the network, making it essential to align with a partner like NL-ix that understands the evolving requirements of the digital landscape.